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The Sequoia Advisor
IN THIS ISSUE                                                          April 16, 2007 
  • Choosing the Right Activity Partner
  • 5 Exercises You Should Never Do
  • Re-Cap Team Sequoia MS Walk for 2007
  • Check-out the Healthy Product Page
  • ChildHelp USA Happy Hour April 20th
    at Reston Town Center 6:30pm


Choosing the Right Activity Partner

Finding the Right Activity Partner
Less than 1% of all people who maintain regular physical activity programs can successfully go it alone. Finding a good partner is one of the keys to staying physically active.
Most people who have an activity partner find it more fun and easier to remain physically active. Your "Activity Buddy" will motivate you, create accountability, help you have fun and be there for you through good times and bad. A real buddy is a very special person; so it's important to carefully choose a partner. Let's look at some of the attributes you'll want to look for in a good activity partner.


Staying Motivated

Highly motivated people are good to have as regular activity partners. When they are really motivated and excited about going for a walk, playing a little tennis or heading to the health club, that enthusiasm rubs off on you. Some of the best activity partners are kids (not necessarily your own). Their outlook is fresh and bubbly. They'll see the walk as an adventure and an opportunity to spend quality time with mom, dad or another adult. If you have good friends with children, consider trading children for your activity. Then the kids will behave better and you won't have to act so much like a parent.  

Enjoying the Journey

Find an activity partner who knows how to enjoy the journey. When you are with them, you sense they are more concerned about having fun and not constantly looking at their watch, trying to beat a time or focused on getting to the end. Enjoying the journey is an important way to maximize the benefits of your activity. Literally, you want to lose track of time; fully immersing yourself in what's going on around you. If you do, stress will melt away from you like hot butter. Having a fun conversation and then realizing that you have been walking for an hour is exactly the result you want.    


Evenly Matched Abilities

Finding an activity partner with evenly matched conditioning maximizes your fun together. Equal conditioning is not a crucial attribute of a good activity partner, but more equal abilities results in less frustration. That way, one partner won't tire after 15 minutes when the other is ready to go on for another 30 minutes. Of course, it's easier for an understanding partner with better conditioning to slow down than a lesser conditioned partner to try and speed up. Either way, find someone you can have a good laugh with during your activity time.


Engaging Multiple Partners

Finding multiple activity partners is an especially good strategy because of people's various time commitments and activity interests. It may take several partners to cover the frequency and times you want to be active. In our self-imposed, time crunched world, you may find a good tennis partner for the weekends, a walking partner at lunch time and a strength training partner for the health club. Having multiple partner choices gives you a good safety net especially if one of your partners gets sick or goes on vacation.


To Family of Not to Family
Sometimes your family can be your greatest advocate or your greatest detractor. If you decide to choose a family member as an activity partner, make sure they are willing to do it "no strings attached." That means, come to have fun but keep the opinions and good advice to themselves (unless asked of course). All your family members need regular physical activity and quality time together just as much as you do. So feel free to include them, but only if it works for you.

To learn how easy it is to get more active and improve your health with Fresh Start, please contact Woody McMahon at 703-464-5171 or

Exercise Safety Alert... 5 Exercises You Should Never Do 

A Few Tips for Making Your Strength Training Safer


Going to the health club is a great thing for your health. Making sure you keep your exercise program safe is crucial to having a good time at the gym. MSN Health and Fitness recently had a list of the 5 most common exercises you should never do. In an effort to help you prevent injury each and every time you exercise, I'm sharing the "worst of the worst" and offering a better activity(s) in its place.


1. Behind-the-Neck Pull Downs

This exercise usually involves sitting on a lat pull down machine bench and pulling a bar down behind your neck. It is performed to strengthen the shoulders and upper and middle back. Problem: This exercise rotates your shoulders into a position that strains your rotator cuffs eventually leading to muscular tears.

Better Alternatives: Regular pull up's, standing rows followed by high-lows or bent knee rows with a dumbbell.  

2. Behind-the-Neck Shoulder Press
This exercise usually involves sitting on a bench or standing. A weighted bar is placed on your shoulders behind your neck and pressed above your head and returned to behind the neck. This exercise is performed to strengthen the shoulders and back of the arms. Problem: This exercise puts too much stress on the front of the shoulder joint which can lead to an overuse injury commonly referred to as "weight lifter's shoulder."

Better Alternative: Sitting on a fitness ball or standing, hold a pair of dumbbells over your head with your arms slightly bent, palms facing each other and elbows pointing to the side. Lower the weight in the left arm, keeping your elbow out to the side until your upper arm is parallel with the floor. Press it back up and repeat with your right arm.  

3. Straight Bar Arm Curls: If you let your arms hang loosely by your sides, you'll notice that your palms face inward. Problem: Straight bar curls lock your arms into an unnatural palms-up position. Both your elbows and wrists are taking too much stress which can lead to joint and tendon problems.

Better Alternative: Standing cable curls are more effective than dumbbell or barbell curls because the cable places constant tension on the arm muscles through the whole curling motion.  


4. Leg Extensions: The four parts of your quadriceps are designed to work together as one, but a recent study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that leg extensions activate the sections slightly independently of one another. Problem: Even a five-millisecond difference can cause uneven compression between the kneecap and thighbone, inflaming the tendon that connects the kneecap to the shinbone (a painful injury known as jumper's knee).

Better Alternative: Squats: To squat safely, place the bar across your shoulders (not your neck) and keep your back straight, bending slightly at the hips through the squatting motion. Proper form is crucial with this exercise to keep knees safe.

5. Sit-ups and Crunches: Lying on the floor with your knees bent curling your body until your elbows touch your knees. Problem: Not only are sit-ups and crunches bad for your neck and lower back, they're also one of the least-effective core abdominal exercises you can do, according to a recent study at San Diego State University. It is more important to strengthen the entire "core" (stomach and lower back muscles) than just the stomach muscles by themselves.

Better Alternative: Fitness Ball Walkouts: Lying face down on a fitness ball, walk out on your hands with your legs straight until your toes touch the back of the ball. Keep your back straight and head down looking at the floor. Return to the starting position and repeat.

As always, keep you strength training as functional as possible. Training your body the way you use it in real life provides maximum usable muscular strength and prevents injuries associated with multi-movement patterns.  
Learn how Fresh Start can help you create a safe and effective strength training program while improving your lifestyle and maintaining good health at any age. Please contact Woody McMahon at 703-464-5171 or email


Re-Cap... MS Reston Walk Sunday, April 15th

The MS Reston walk in a word was WET. Team Sequoia had 20 people register for the walk
and 12 who braved the elements ready to walk. We had the Curran family(5), Clippinger(2),
McMahon(2), Field(1) and Etheredge(2). Our breakfast, at The Silver Diner, was good and the
service was superb. After much deliberation, we decided not to walk, so we turned in our pledge
money and modified our physical activity plan by playing Whack-it instead. 5 on 5 Whack-it worked
out great. 

If you didn't make it this time, please try to come next year. It was a lot of fun!!!   
ChildHelp USA Happy Hour April 20th
at Reston Town Center 6:30pm

Child abuse is a major problem in this country. On April 20th starting at 6:30pm,
ChildHelp USA with the help of Reston Town Center and Pizza Uno are holding a
awareness night to help stop child abuse. Please come out and support the
effort to stop child abuse. There will be free popcorn, games and prizes.
To learn more about how you can help stop child abuse, contact  Becky Baker
at 703-464-5171 or email your questions to
Foot Pain Relief... Now on the Healthy Product Page

Check out our new Healthy Products page. I have tested and used each of these products
personally finding them to meet or exceed my expectations.
To learn more go to

Continued Good Health,


Woody McMahon

The Sequoia Advisor

Sequoia Health and Fitness, Inc.
483A Carlisle Dive
Herndon , VA 20170  

Required Disclaimer: The material provided herein should not be construed as a health-care diagnosis,
treatment regimen or any other prescribed health-care advice or instruction. The material is provided with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in the practice of medicine or any other health-care profession and does not enter into a health-care practitioner/patient relationship with its readers. The publisher does not advise or recommend to its readers treatment or action with regard to matters relating to their health or well-being other than suggesting that readers consult appropriate health-care professionals in such matters. No action should be taken based solely on the content of this publication. The material and opinions provided herein are believed to be accurate and sound at the time of publication, based on the best judgment available to the authors. However, readers who rely on material in this publication to replace the advice of health-care professionals, or who fail to consult with health-care professionals, assume all risks of such conduct. The publisher is not responsible for errors or omissions. 

Copyright (c) 2006-2007 by Sequoia Health and Fitnes
s, Inc.

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